One of the key things that helped me move quickly to super affiliate — I started earning 5 figures per month after six months — was the fact that I knew how to create scripts and systems to help me do the repetitive stuff.
I usually did everything manually first, and once I could see that the process was profitable, and that I could automate it, I focused on developing a custom software solution. This gave me a huge competitive edge.
When I started, it was possible to get high rankings by trading enough links with the right anchor text; search engines are little bit smarter now. I remember I created a handful of Perl scripts to research and find a lot of links, and an Internet Explorer toolbar to help me with filling the link exchange forms. Those tools saved me a lot of time!
If you start doing something that is profitable and you think that automating it can help you grow faster; do it. If you don’t have the skills to do it yourself; hire someone to do it. There are a lot of freelancers that can do it really cheap.